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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2022 5:28 pm    Post subject: Why Karate? Reply with quote

Someone on Reddit was looking for a system for striking to supplement their grappling experience and posed the question "Why should I choose Karate?" This comes up on KF every now and then, but I have found that the reason people do Karate change as they do. So, why did you choose Karate? Why do you continue to choose Karate? Would you change your decision if you could go back? Here's what I wrote:

Well for me it was because it was free at the time, and the love came later. Now those reasons are different and hard to quantify, but I'll do my best.

There is a certain ritualization to it. The practice of the kata, the procedures for beginning and ending a class, and the way you address those around you have a certain comfort to them. A rhythm that promotes self-discipline and mutual respect.

If you're looking for self-defense, there are many schools that focus more on this than something like sparring. If you want more sparring, there are many schools that focus more on that than self-defense.

In this, the variety of choice is nice. Karate has grown to such a point that you can find what you are looking for if you look for it.

Karate teaches you range. Unlike Muay Thai and other systems which prefer to remain "in the pocket" with their fighting, Karate tends focus on coming in at a range and leaving quickly. If you are looking to get some striking in as a way to be a better fighter in a ring, this translates having a bigger toolbox when you're closing in on your opponent, and having more practice quickly gaining distance if you need to.

This is a generalization, to which there are exceptions. Kyokushin, for example, is a style that prefers to have closer ranged fights. Again, variety is great. You can find a style that focuses long range, short range, or something in-between.

Karate has made me a smarter fighter. Sometimes, when I'm watching an MMA bout, I see fighters rush in headlong, or with little consideration. This works for them, and some successful fighters do just this. However, it's also often their downfall. Karate can be that sometimes, but mostly I have found that it is a game of analysis. It teaches you to abandon yourself in the moment, certainly. Mushin is an important concept. However, there's no small emphasis on gauging not only your opponent, but yourself. What's your distance look like? What options do you have? What's around me that's useful to incorporate into this next attack or defense?

Finally, Karate puts emphasis on defense. Most 2+ step drills focus on receiving an attack, instead of initiating. It teaches you that a block is a strike and a strike is a block. It teaches you how to avoid damage, and to know when to take some damage to gain an advantage. In my experience with other styles, such as MT, Boxing, etc., there isn't an emphasis on this like there is with Karate. Getting hit is a part of fighting, but Karate, in my experience, attempts to train you to mitigate that damage as much as possible

Overall, I love Karate because it is a part of me. It was chance that my family started doing Karate. A friend offered it for free and by the time he started charging, we were helping him teach so we had no tuition. There was a time, I think, when I might have said that I would do it differently, perhaps join Muay Thai or Boxing, but now I wouldn't give up these experiences for the world. Is that because I am older? Wiser? Let's say yes . I realize now, looking back, how much I needed the discipline and rituals of Karate. To my young ADHD brain, having the routines of practice to do at home and the consistency of Karate in general was exactly what I needed at that time. I didn't know I had ADHD then, just that there was a lot about Karate that I found soothing. On my worst days I still drill kata to calm down. Moving through moves I've done countless times, having something occupy myself with other than the cacophony of noise in my head.

This is a longer post, and I wax on a little as I ruminate, but y'all should do the same. Tell me your stories.
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Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.

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Himokiri Karate
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 391

Styles: Boxing, Korean Karate

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2022 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I trained in boxing and did some judo/sambo most of my 20s. Karate for me is something I truly re-discovered through Tang Soo Do. So to add my two cent is, the flexibility and kicking ability of karate allows for faster footwork.

This is because you have a greater range of motion through stretching, that and the chambering challenges the supporting leg and you have an inward movement in your hips which also allows for greater levels of rotation.


Its also very fun, you get to meet people who are non-fighters who are more relaxed and not in fight mode. This allows for the exploration of creativity as oppose to dealing with a trainer s who are fight focused and get tunneled vision and are unable to analyze other aspect of karate like tis creativity and the physical cultivation needed to enhance yourself in all dimensions as a human being which will enhance your fighting ability overall.


Important to mention is that being in fight mode is bad for the soul. It can make you over serious and it sucks the fun out of the training which makes you tense and compressed in your movement. Look at prime Conor when he was training and loving Taekwondo/Karate, he was having the time of his life with the footwork, with the switches and moving around in colorful and creative ways.


Last thing I will say is that, if a karate style that encourages jumping, you develop greater levels of fast twitch muscle and cardio because the jumping, the bouncing, switching are cardio heavy and cardio is the most important aspect of physical attributes in any and all forms of combat sports.
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LionsDen
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 06 May 2022
Posts: 177


PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2022 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was 11 and my mom remembered me wanting to do martial arts when I was younger watching power rangers, so she signed me up.
I decided Iíd do it for three months to say I gave it a try. I had fun so I kept going until I simply really liked it.
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R5ky
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 27 Jun 2022
Posts: 50


PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2022 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some unknown reason, when I was much younger, I always felt intimidated by karate.

I've always had the notion that studying karate needs a lot of memory after viewing the original Karate Kid and a few Bruce Lee movies.

I didn't fully understand the efficiency of karate until much later in life, first discovering Lyoto Machida and his clean KOs when he was at his prime, thats when I just said screw it and had a tremendous desire to learn it.

I learned about how Shoto was formed of other Karate styles and grew to appreciate how intriguing this defense really is. I really enjoy the theories (regardless if they have been tested or not) of bunkai pertaining to all those kata. Its like a mystery being unboxed, and there is not just one interpretation to it.

you don't really have that in more competitive sports like Boxing and MT as its straight to the point.


Karate,
The structure is well-designed, from the basic to the complicated.
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2022 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LionsDen wrote:
I was 11 and my mom remembered me wanting to do martial arts when I was younger watching power rangers, so she signed me up.
I decided Iíd do it for three months to say I gave it a try. I had fun so I kept going until I simply really liked it.


I was so obsessed with Power Rangers when I was a kid that during a play my parents were in (I was in also, Carousel requires a lot of children extras) I would do Power Ranger moves instead of bowing.
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R5ky
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 27 Jun 2022
Posts: 50


PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2022 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I was so obsessed with Power Rangers when I was a kid that during a play my parents were in (I was in also, Carousel requires a lot of children extras) I would do Power Ranger moves instead of bowing.


Quote:
I was 11 and my mom remembered me wanting to do martial arts when I was younger watching power rangers, so she signed me up.





We appear to have grow up at roughly the same time (90's kids).
Tommy the green one used to be my favorite.
What's noteworthy is the martial arts history that the actor (Jason David Frank) reveals on wiki


8th dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate, Wado-ryu Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Ajarn Degree in Muay Thai, 8th Dan
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scohen0300
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 227
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Tang Soo Do

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2022 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first started martial arts, my role models were Georges St. Pierre (humble, respectful, strong) and Nick Diaz (troubled, bad boy, talented), two MMA fighters. Unfortunately, I related to Nick Diaz a lot so I acted like him when I was in high school. I still think of the dumb decisions I made 10+ years later.

Why karate? I didnít have a father growing up. It gave me a healthy, positive male role model in my life. I looked up to him and wanted him to notice my efforts. I respected him and wanted to earn his respect as well. I wanted to be like my Sensei.

I learned respect, not just for people I look up to but for everyone around me. Younger people, people the same age as me, people older than me. More than that, I learned about respect for other cultures. Respect for other views, ideas and opinions. I needed, so badly, to learn about respect when I found karate. Iím so grateful for this.

I learned about discipline. I learned how to hold myself accountable. I learned to try, try and try again instead of giving up when something didnít go my way.

I learned about the value of honesty and what it means to practice having integrity, two things that should be understood but arenít really taught too much anymore, or at least werenít taught to me until I found karate.

Iíve noticed that some parents think that a martial arts instructor will just give their child discipline and make them become respectful, automatically fix any behavioral issues and all this other nonsense. While there is SO much to learn and gain from the martial arts, your Sensei will give you nothing but the experience they have to share. For me, my Sensei simply showed me the way.

Why karate STILL? 14-ish years later?

I feel the need to pay it forward. I feel the need to continue my practice and continue my growth. As long as Iíve been training, which isnít very long for many martial artists, thereís SO much I have yet to learn and get good at.

Karate, as complex as it is, is just a tool to learn all of these valuable lessons, including self defense. I find that absolutely fascinating. And I hope, some day, my students will have the same benefits and realizations Iíve gained through the martial arts, if not more.

Well thatís my own reasoning at least. I suppose you could gain most, if not all of this from any recreational activity with a good Sensei guiding you on the way.
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- Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Nidan
- Tang Soo Do, 3rd Gup
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15921
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2022 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why Karate?

Why not?!

Quote:
So, why did you choose Karate?

Necessity!!

My elementary days were quite tumultuous to say the least. 6th grade bullies were rampant and their victims were aplenty. I was a victim, having my lunch money taken forcibly every school day that was served up to me in the boys' bathroom with their daily reminder of who they were and who I was.

Every day after school when I got home, the first place I went to was not to my bedroom to feel sorry for myself, but to the refrigerator to feed my face because I was starving. Shortly this got the attention of my mom because an after-school snack was allowed, but a after school meal wasn't.

As persistent that moms can be, I told my mom what was happening at school, which led mom to pay a very stern visit with both the Vice-Principal, Principal, and School Counselor.

Even after that, the bullying ramped up my punishment mainly because I was instrumental in pointing out who my 6th grade bullies were. The punching bag I became.

This infuriated mom even more. So, another visit to the school was in order. Mom was suggested to enroll me in some self-defense classes or something. That's exactly what mom did.

In my small corner of the world of Canoga Park back in 1964 found in the San Fernando Valley within Southern California, there weren't many other MA choices. There were very few boxing gyms, and even less TKD dojangs and the like but even then, these schools were not to be found where we lived.

But at the corner of Owensmouth and Sherman Way, just a few miles away from our house, was a Karate dojo. That's where mom enrolled me. Even after 3 months of Karate, I was still having my lunch handed to me in the boys' bathroom. 9 months of Karate...the bullies started to leave me alone, not entirely because some bullies just don't care how much Karate you know.

Quote:
Why do you continue to choose Karate?

Because I deeply fell in love with it across the board. At first, my Sensei became my substitute dad ever since my parents divorced a few years earlier. Sensei was very scarry and intimidating and all of that but under the tough exterior there was a loving and caring male model that I desperately needed in my life.

Yes, I continue to choose Karate 5 decades plus later because it's my core!! I can no longer stop breathing as I can stop training in the MA, including Karate. I'm eclectic in my MA, but Karate IS my core. This I'm not ashamed of, nor should I be whether it be past, present, or future.

Quote:
Would you change your decision if you could go back?

Simply put...NO!! Karate has provided me a plethora of substances both professionally and personally. Karate has put food on our tables in more ways than not. Teaching Karate and owning a MA supply store my entire life has allowed me to care for my family.

I too, want to pay it forward. Karate has been good to me and good for me across the board. Karate, as well as the MA, and owning/operating a business are the two professional things that I'm very, very good at. As a CI, my greatest feeling that brings a warm smile to my face is when my students have one of their AHA moments. Nothing brings me more joy than to see a student finally starts to understand...like being witnessed to my students Shu Ha Ri....and they are aware of it.




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DarthPenguin
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 315
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2022 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why Karate?

For me the reason was quite simple really. I was a mixed race kid growing up in central scotland in the early 80s. As a result i was in a fight pretty much daily from about 4yrs old onwards. Could usually hold my own but there was one kid in my class that was bigger and stronger and would just come over and beat me up. After a bit my dad found a karate class for me and i started training 4x a week almost straight away. Broke the kids nose as a birthday party when i was 5 so changed schools but didn't stop the issues. Kept training lots and found it helped. Moved to the clubs head dojo which was in a very shady area of a town about 45min away (there was a thing called the 'ice cream wars' that was taking place there at the same time) and kept training away. Was a tough class but was useful for actually fighting!

Eventually moved away and to a bigger city so had less need to fight all the time and fell away from karate. Went back and trained in other styles in late teens and have trained pretty much consistently since.

Why karate now?

Tbh my son wanted to start so i contacted a class and they said they would only take a 5yr old if a parent was there too so i joined the class. Been enjoying it a lot so i can't see myself leaving again anytime soon!
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Tyler
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 16 Mar 2022
Posts: 53
Location: Narita,Japan
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Kobudo

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2022 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my Case, I had always wanted to Study Kung fu or Karate and even though Im older now I'm still so interested in JuJitsu and plan on joining once the Covid calms down a bit more.

When I was a kid I was inspired by Bruce Lees movie Ē Enter the DragonĒ.

I began Karate one day when I walked into the local gym in Narita, Japan to do some weight training. A Japanese man said ďHelloĒ to me. I asked him what he was doing in the gym. He said I teach Karate here and often come here to train in private.

I was drawn to his vibrant enthusiasm and the fact he spoke English. After some weight training, I walked up to the 2nd Floor where the Dojo was located and saw many various Okinawan weapons on the floor related to Kobudo such as the Jo (staff stick) Nunchucks, Sai etc.

He gave me his phone number but it took me 2 years later to call him and once I began..........I was hooked on it and began practicing 3 days a week.

When I look back at my beginning to where I am today. I am so Thankful to my amazing senseis and their willingness to teach me and they speak english, which classes are half in Japanese and English.

Just up until recently another Foreigner joined from Sweden,Which is a nice change for me! I think I will never stop practicing karate as it has taught me so much spiritually, Mentally etc.

I wish I actually began much younger! I lost heaps of weight and really improved my overall health and lifestyle. I just need to cut back on the alcohol which is a big challenge. I will never give up until the body gives out!
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